Immigration Corner: I want to stay in the UK
Dear Mr Bassie,
I am in the United Kingdom (UK) and I would like to apply to stay here with my husband. I am told that I can apply for permanent residence while here. Your advice would be appreciated.
An applicant can apply to remain in the United Kingdom with a family member. The applicant would need a 'family of a settled person' visa if he/she would like to stay ('remain') with a family member or partner - for example, a spouse who is living in the United Kingdom permanently and if the applicant is already in the United Kingdom; or if he/she is from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland.
The applicant, if eligible, would need to extend his/her existing 'family of a settled person' visa or switch to one. The applicant's family member or partner can be either a British citizen or a family member or partner who has settled in the United Kingdom. The applicant's family member or partner may also be a person who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom. A person may also be able to apply to remain in the United Kingdom with his/her child if he/she has lived there for at least seven years.
There are some exceptions that may a cause a person to apply in a different way if he/she was outside of the United Kingdom; his/her partner was from the EEA or Switzerland; the applicant's partner originally had a temporary visa as a worker; or if the applicant is the victim of domestic violence or if his/her partner has died; or if the applicant had applied for a 'family of a settled person' visa before July 9, 2012. Another exception is where the applicant may want to reunite with a partner or parent who has asylum or humanitarian protection in the United Kingdom.
After the application has been made, a decision will be provided within eight weeks for postal applications and usually on the same day if the applicant uses the premium service.
The applicant will be contacted if his/her application is complex, and will take longer, for example, if his/her supporting documents need to be verified; or if the applicant needs to attend an interview; or because of personal circumstances, for example, if the applicant has a criminal conviction.
The requisite fees for a person who is applying by post is £649 and £1,049 when applying in person, that is via premium service. A person must also pay the health-care charge as part of his/her application. It is important that the applicant checks how much he/she would need to pay before making the application.
If the application is successful, the applicant will be able to stay for two years and six months. The applicant will be able to apply to extend this again towards the end of that period. The applicant can also apply to settle permanently in the United Kingdom once he/she becomes eligible.
The successful applicant can also use his/her 'family of a settled person' visa to work, but be aware that applicant will not be able to work if he/she is extending a visa to get married or to become a civil partner; study; or bring some family members, for example 'dependents', to the United Kingdom. However, the applicant will not usually be eligible to get benefits or other public funds.
I hope this helps.
- John S. Bassie is a barrister/attorney-at-law who practises law in Jamaica. He is a justice of the peace, a Supreme Court-appointed mediator, a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a chartered arbitrator, and a member of the Immigration Law Practitioners Association (UK). Email:firstname.lastname@example.org.